15 minute posts

Less than Perfect

home again. Toby got served d-papers and amazingly he's still talking to me. It's gonna be a tough year but I think our friendship might survive.

I’m sorry I was a little skitzophrenic* with the kitten post. I was heading out the door for our weekend in Orange County and I always get nervous about cat posts. So I posted it, then I un-posted it and then I posted it and un-posted it a few more times. Probably not that many people noticed but if you were wondering where it went, that is where it was. It’s been in my wordpress dashboard getting turned on and off. I also wrote it quickly so that gave me even more reason to be nervous. And then I really didn’t have time to edit and well, this has sort of been my life lately. I have lots of probably unnecessary anxiety over possible bad things that could blow up to be really bad things or blow over to be nothing at all.

Mexican tea dress

What’s making you such a wreck you ask? Well, after nearly a year, I finally hired a divorce lawyer. It was probably a mistake. Not because I don’t want to be divorced but because I think I called in the troops when a simple handshake would have been sufficient. Toby has not given me any trouble about our separation. He really has been a saint. Not one that I want to stay married to but a friend who is trying to understand.

He was served the papers while we were there this weekend. I was sitting on the couch. I felt terrible. But I just didn’t know how else to do it. It’s almost been a year and I haven’t gotten the paperwork done on my own. I tried. I downloaded forms and tried filling them out five different times. The forms mocked me. I didn’t know what to fill in where. So I spent several thousand dollars to have someone do it for me. Several thousand dollars that I don’t really have. Some think it was the smartest thing I ever did. Others the stupidest. I’m not really sure. I feel like I’m navigating a tiny ship in a giant storm and I’m sea sick.

Anyway, that is where I am. I’m doing okay. Just a little scared. Working hard. Talking things out…you know how it is.

Also, the kittens are doing fine.

*is that a word?


  • Carrie

    No matter how saintly he’s being, hiring an attorney is still probably the smartest thing you could have done. I hope it all goes well and the anxiety starts to lessen soon. I would be a bundle of anxious too.

  • Erin

    Totally understand your anxiety about cat related posts (oh my heck, I was here for that brouhaha back then!). Agree with Carrie: hiring a lawyer is the best thing you could do: even when it’s completely amicable, a go between who doesn’t have a cock in the fight (to put it badly) is a good thing. Also, in answer to your *question about whether it’s a word: “schizophrenic”. I did have to look it up. <3

  • Ninotchka

    I feel for you, love. I really do. It seems like so many friends (virtual and real) are going through similar situations some more volatile than other. It’s a topsy turvy world we’re living in. I pray for peace and resolution for all. xo

  • Rebecca

    I rarely comment, if ever… But, I have been a follower for years. I found you through Bethany Actually (or was it the other way around? I don’t remember.). Anyway, I find your blog refreshing and encouraging because it is honest and real and dare I say, normal… Not like the blogs that are edited so much that reality is lost.

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know that you are in my prayers.

    Thanks for being you.


  • LongStoryLonger

    I just wanted to say hang in there. And that it sounds like you’re doing your best to navigate your tiny ship, and really, what else can you do? Smartest, dumbest, best, worst, who knows? I always go to hyperbole, too. But really, you just reached out for some help and got it. It sounds tough, but you’re making it. Hugs.

  • Stephanie

    Another follower courtesy of Bethany Actually. It’s always hard to hire people to help with the things we tell ourselves we “should” be able to do ourselves to save money. Plumbing, accounting, web design (oh wait that’s me not you), or legal matters. It always seems way too expensive to pay the so-called experts but generally in the end the cost is balanced by the lack of headache/stress/aggravation. In the end I find it is best to just decide to stop questioning the expenditure once the money is spent. It’s gone anyway so second guessing yourself just takes away the benefit you paid for. Cut yourself some slack and know there are many of us out here routing for you to find peace.

  • Katie

    Have you heard the parable of the silversmith? I bet you could google it, I heard it in church a couple weeks ago. Reminds me that God is always looking out for us, even in our hardest times. It’s nice to know we’re being watched over, each one of us, no matter what. Sending prayers and positive thoughts your way!

  • Sam

    Wow. Totally awkward, I’m sure. I know of some people who could do the whole do-it-yourself divorce but usually they were pretty young, no kids, no assets or businesses of their own. I suspect a lawyer or mediator is a necessary evil in a divorce situation, honestly, even if everyone is being cooperative. I’m sorry, I can only imagine how hard it is to arrive at this moment. Sending love to you and Bug and yet, can I say, how much it seems you love your life these days? And I love reading about that.

  • Liza

    I started reading your blog around the time you separated. (I think I found you through OMSH) I was going through the same thing.

    So funny for you to post this, because now after a year, I again going through the same thing.

    Ugh. It all just sucks, doesn’t it. Why can’t it be easy?

    I’m sure we’ll make it. Before we know it, it will be another year down the road and we’ll be in a different place.

    Good luck to you!!

  • bonnie

    You know, money will come and go. It’s just money. Your happiness and sanity are worth FAR MORE than thousands of dollars. Millions, even. I think the fact that you did it means it was worth it to you. Sometimes I find that what I wind up doing, even though I doubt myself along the way, is exactly what I needed to do.

  • Katie

    *HUGSandPRAYERS* I hope you feel the support from all the people that love you and wish you the best. Making hard decisions in life is no fun but we are always here for you to lean on.

  • bethany

    love, hugs, prayers, and of course you’re all over the place right now! so hard, so glad he’s being a saint, and yes I’d want to hide under the cushions if i was there when he got served, ouch! glad you’re getting a lawyer, better to have it done cleanly than regret not crossing those t’s later.

  • BeachMama

    Wish I could take you out for a coffee. You did one of the hardest things to do and did it with Grace, for that everyone should commend you. I helped Hubby with his divorce from his first wife years ago, I am not a lawyer and they had nothing to split and no child to worry about, but it was really, really hard. Part of it is the emotions that go into it as well and for that reason I say a lawyer is an amazing investment. You are on the other side of it and I just hope that you and Toby can remain friends for Bugs sake, just take it one day, one year at a time.


  • Heather

    Brenda you’ll be ok. I went through this myself in 2009/2010. We started off ok talking about doing it ourselves until he started dragging his feet. So I hired a divorce attorney. It was a lot of money, but I’m glad I hired him. There’s a lot of legal mumbo jumbo that your attorney can deal with. Divorce even if you don’t want it to be is an adversarial thing by nature. It was good for me to have someone to deal with my ex. Your attorney will watch out for you and hopefully protect what you’re entitled to. Divorce was really hard but you will come out of it so much better. Just lean on your family and friends. They will be there for you. Hugs.

  • a chris

    I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry to hear that this part is so distressing, but one can only hope that what you’re having to do now is the bitter medicine that will allow you all to heal properly. If Toby’s handling it well, then you’re both doing something right.

    As for the lawyer, it’s a gamble in a way. You wonder if you might have managed it all yourself and saved a big chunk of money, and waving that money goodbye hurts, but there’s a good chance you’ll avoid technical complications by hiring someone who already knows the ins and outs.

    The time you’d have had to spend to make sure you’d got the details right — worth money in productivity and in time for living.

    Take care, and breathe deeply! You’ll weather this storm.

  • SarahK

    I’m sorry you are going through this hard time! I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, but haven’t commented. I hired a lawyer for my divorce even though it was completely amicable and I AM a lawyer (but not a divorce one). Like you, I felt really weird about it because I didn’t want the divorce to turn contentious because I brought someone else in. Three years later, I’m glad I spent the money on a lawyer because both my ex-husband and had the peace of mind that our divorce was final and was done right by an expert. Don’t let your lawyer talk you into fighting over things you don’t want to fight about. If you make clear that your divorce is amicable and you just want it DONE, he or she should respect that.

    Sending you positive thoughts!

  • Susie

    I’m glad Toby is being cooperative. You should still feel good about your choice to hire a lawyer. You have a child to consider, and you just want to make sure that all the details are covered, especially the things you might not think of on your own. Since Toby is such a good dad, I’m sure he’ll want to make sure bug is taken care of properly too. My best wishes to you both. You’re doing a brave thing, and your future is bright. :)

  • Jeanie


    I think you always have the nicest commenters here (and probably lurkers, too) because everybody really CARES that you are okay.

    Nobody else is in your shoes — you did what you could to move things along when it was overwhelming you. It is okay to need, and okay to cry.

    I will continue to pray for all three of you.

  • Linda

    Thinking of you, just go with the decision you’ve made. Best to get expert advice I always say. Cyber hugs to you during this difficult time

  • sizzle

    My sister is going through something very similar. My heart goes out to you. Separating is hard. Divorce takes it to another level, even if you think you’ve sorted through so many of the conflicting emotions.

    Big hug.

  • MintTea

    Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of those saying you made the right call! I went through an amicable separation last year and we both used lawyers. I think it made us feel like we could be sure it was fair– both to ourselves and to the other person. It is a lot of money, but there are legal issues you should be aware of, and it is always good to have an impartial voice pointing out options. The choices are yours, but knowing the options helps you feel fairly treated. Oh– and if some of your angst is just about needing to make it official and “move on”, well that is totally understandable too. Filing for divorce is a marker, but a good one– you can stay friends and co-parents and even have a unique and fulfilling relationship as formerly-marrieds. A divorce doesn’t have to define your relationship, but it can be a huge psychic step in looking forward and not backwards. So congratulations on that part, and money be damned. I like the commentator above who said its never wise to second-guess the purchase once its made! It felt necessary, you considered it, wise move. We (your online-pals) support you and I’m glad you share your feelings– it helps all of us who have been or will go through similar experiences. Thank you.

  • Ninabi

    I’m sending good thoughts your way. You are brave for sharing your life with us, your friends and readers and although it is expensive, you are doing the right thing by hiring a lawyer.

    Sorry about the headache and hassle with finding the kittens new homes on top of everything else. You kindly took in a soon to be mother cat and I wish pet shelters gave priority to good people like you who need a pet adoption agency to help you good homes for the little ones.

    Hugs to you during this time of so much stress.

  • Jenni H.

    Thank you Brenda…..this is such a intimate part of your life but by choosing to share it I can’t even come close to thinking of all the lives you will touch with your words. Blessings & Healing at this time.

  • Kate

    Hi Brenda,

    I agree with everyone else’s eloquent comments. You are very brave and talented, and you and Toby are lucky to share such a darling daughter. I hope you both get through this time smoothly and wish you every happiness.

  • Ami

    I have no advice or opinions on this matter; but I always say it’s best to trust your gut. If your gut said: hire a lawyer, then you did the right thing. Even if your gut is ambiguous, the fact that you actually did it says that it was the right thing. Not sure if it makes sense anywhere but my head, but there it is. You have to be your own best friend in these kinds of matters.
    Peace be with you.

  • OMSH

    Brenda, I love you. I know you want to maintain a friendly relationship even though you no longer want to be married. Toby knows you, and he knows you have Bug’s best interest in mind. You were straightforward and this wasn’t a surprise. This has been a hard year and I believe it needs to wrap up somehow. No one but you can make this decision, so in my opinion, no one can call it stupid or smart. Ours are just opinions. Your feelings and emotions are drawn from the past 15 years of your life.